Ready to learn how to grow an amazing corn crop this year? I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a hot ear of corn dripping with butter or perhaps, Southern Cream Corn. Yummy!
How to Grow Corn
With due diligence, keeping a watchful eye, and giving your corn what it loves, you too will have the corn crop of your dreams. While the corn crop shown in the photo above is a small corn crop, it was an amazing corn crop. Just look at how beautiful those ears of corn are! No worms and well pollinated. The very thing we all should strive for in growing corn.
Worms? Why would you have worms?
Well there are these pesky worms that can get in the top of your ears, because these guys love sweet corn just as much as we all do. But, with regular treatment started at just the right time, you will have very little if any worries where they’re concerned.
How to Insure that the Corn Crop is Well Pollinated?
Well pollinated? What does that mean and how would I possibly know.
With corn, bees, wasps and the like are not required or needed because it is pollinated by the wind. “The wind you say!?!” Yes, by the wind. But I don’t leave my corn crop to chance and I highly recommend that you don’t either. So, once the tassles have shown (the sprouty part that comes out of the top) and the silks have emerged (silky strands that appear coming out at the base of a leaf), head to the garden with a long stick or rake handle (whatever you’ve got) and begin running the stick along the tops of the corn and create movement through the corn crop. You see, corn is self pollinating which means that the tops are male and the silks female. So the wind blows or the stick moves through the corn causing the seeds to fall into the silks causing fertilization.
Take a look at the photo above and notice that all of the kernels are formed and plump. What a beautiful ear of corn. So, if you ever see an ear of corn where all of the kernels have NOT completely formed, then you’ve seen an ear of corn that was not well pollinated. Ahah! Yes, that is why I don’t take the chance and rely solely on the wind.
Let’s Grow an Amazing Corn Crop this Year
I’m going to take you along from creating furrows to planting to hilling and fertilizing. So, get ready because you’ve got an amazing corn crop in your future. Now before we get going here, this blog post is for growing a crop of sweet corn. From what I understand, dent corn is planted and cared for differently than sweet corn and I don’t currently have any experience with any kind of corn other than sweet corn. Our favorite is Peaches & Cream. If you love sweet corn and you haven’t tried Peaches & Cream, I sure hope you do.
Mark your rows. We use a flag or a stick, whatever’s available, and create our rows for corn 3′ apart. Once marked we use a Double Wheel Hoe to create the furrows with the flags in place, it’s much easier to get a nice straight row. If you don’t have a Double Wheel Hoe you can use a hoe and do the same job. It just takes a little longer but you’ll get the results you need.
Lay the drip tape. Now you don’t have to use drip tape but I highly recommend it. While rain is certainly a blessing, overhead watering is a big attractor for pests plus it splashes dirt up on the plant which can spread disease. Also, corn loves water and to be fertilized. And with drip irrigation it’s super easy to water right to the roots while keeping the tops nice and dry with less stress from pests. PLUS, with the Fertilizer Injector by Hoss Tools, you’ll be able to fertilize directly through the drip tape. Easy peasy!
I am an affiliate of Hoss Tools which means that I receive a small commission on qualified purchases at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I use myself. See my full disclosure here.
Plant your corn. Once you can see where each of the emitters are located, make your holes 1″ deep and every 6″ apart. I like to place a hole on top of each emitter and one hole in between. The emitters are 12″ apart which makes this process is easy breezy. Once all of your holes are made you can begin planting your seeds.
You Have 2 Options:
- Plant 1 seed per hole and then replant wherever germination doesn’t occur.
- Or, plant 2 seeds per hole and remove the smaller plant of the two if both seeds sprout.
Both ways work so do whichever you prefer.
Next, take your garden rake and pull a little dirt over the holes. Once all of the seed are covered, go down each road with the garden rake and pat the rows down gently but firmly.
Let the water run for several hours or even overnight. Be sure to keep the seeds moist and not dry out. They need the moisture to soften their shell so the plants can erupt and turn into that beautiful corn stalk you are so anxiously awaiting.
Once the corn has sprouted and is up about 6 inches, it’s time to fertilize and to hill. I use 10-10-10 that I just sprinkle all along down the row to one side of the corn. Now take the Double Wheel Hoe, or a regular hoe, and hill the corn by pulling dirt and the fertilizer up and over the corn. They are gonna love you for it!
Two weeks later, add 20-20-20 to the Fertilizer Injector and let it run until the line flows clear. Two weeks after that, add Calcium Nitrate to the injector and go again. I like to do one on the first of the month and the other on the 15th which makes it really easy to remember and to keep up with.
Watch for the silks. Once the corn has gotten up, the tassels have sprouted from the top and the silks have emerged, it’s time to begin protecting your plants against pests. Have you ever pulled back a husk on an ear of corn to discover a worm has eaten out the top of it? Well I know I have, YUCK! Follow the following method and you’ll have few, if any, worms invading your corn this year.
- Spray the corn generously with Monterey B.T. every 2 weeks until the B.T. begins to drip from the leaves. Don’t worry, this happens quickly.
If it rains, I like to reapply before the 2 weeks is up once the rain has passed and the corn has dried.
- If you begin to see any creepy crawlies that aren’t listed as the bugs to beat on the B.T. bottle, then it is time for the Bug Buster II. If you’re between B.T. treatments you can apply the Bug Buster II by itself or you can mix the Bug Buster II and the B.T. together to get all of the pests with one spraying.
- Continue this process until the corn is ready to harvest.
If you’re wondering, “how do I know when corn is ready harvest?”, check out this video here.
A Word on Corn
Sweet Corn is delicious and there are so many ways to prepare it. Our favorites are on the cob and creamed. Oh my that’s good stuff. But if you’re looking to make grits, cornmeal or to feed your animals, then I don’t recommend sweet corn.
We have planted Hickory King this year for just those purposes. But this year is our first time planting this type of corn so we are learning as we go. But as soon as we feel good about it, a blog post will follow to help you in your corn journey and quite possibly a journey to self sufficiency.
If you’d like to see for yourself the goings-on around the homestead, we’d love for you to join us and Subscribe on our YouTube Channel, Simply Made Homestead.
Find More Tips & Tricks in the Garden
- How to Prepare Potatoes for Planting
- Let’s Get Dirty in the Garden!
- How to Plant Peanuts for Maximum Production
When you have your own amazing corn crop this year, I would love it if you would give this post 5 stars. And tag us @SimplyMadeHomestead on Instagram with a photo of you and your family enjoying the harvest.
Until next time…happy homesteading!
If you ever have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask. I love to hear from you!!